Wednesday, September 09, 2009
Number of Hours : 16:07:20
Format : Historical Fiction, Horror Audio Book
Reason for Reading : GLBT Challenge and RIP Challenge
Welcome to the time just after the second world war in rural Warwickshire. Doctor Faraday is a middle aged doctor serving the community who comes from a working class background trying to raise his status. He is called out one day to Hundreds Hall where his mother used to be a servant to the Ayres family when he was a young boy. He treats their yong servant girl Betty who is faking her illness to get out of doing work. She thinks there is something wrong with the house and has got herself all worked up. He stays and spends some time with the family, Mrs Ayres, Caroline and Roddy. Caroline is a spinster and Roddy was injured in the war leaving him with a bad leg and lots of scarring. Since the war they have really been struggling to maintain the Hall and their estate and Roddy is bearing the brunt of it.
Doctor Faraday soon integrates himself into the family. He begins an experimental new treatment on Roddy's leg and his connection with Caroline slowly starts to grow. The tension running through the novel starts to slowly build at the same time, beginning with an accident with Caroline's dog Jip. He suddenly attacks someone in the house during a party and things begin to go downhill for the Ayres from there. Is there a malevolent being in the house? A poltergeist or the personification of someones unconscious (a little stranger)? Doctor Faraday explains everything away using practical explainations, but as things get more spooky and serious, the reader is drawn into the mysetery never quite reaching the truth. A mixture of the supernatural and the class struggles of the time.
This is the first audio book I have listened to and it was a perfect introduction. Read by Simon Vance I had no idea what it was going to be about and just plunged straight in. I really felt the tension growing in the background, it was woven into the narrative so subtly though. The language is very sensuous and it was so easy to picture the house and it's inhabbitants in front of me as I listened to it. The audio veriosn also included an interview with Sarah Waters at the end which gave an interesting insight into her tastes, motivations and personality. Overall it's a classic haunted house story told exceedingly well.